Object Title

Breastplate and tassets

Breastplate and tassets

Date

1630

Object Number

II.287

Provenance

Old Tower stock

Physical Description

Of short waisted form, with cut-out at the neck, narrow shoulders, a medial ridge and a deep flange at the waist. The edges of the neck and arm openings have plain inward turns. The neck and arm openings have recessed borders, that of the neck drawn down at the centre into a 'V'. The medial ridge is bordered each side by double incised line decoration, and a matching band bordered by double incised lines springs from each armhole and runs diagonally down to the top edge of the flange, forming a 'V' pattern. At either side of the chest is a plain swivel-hook with domed brass rivet that engages a pierced stud to the outside of it that originally held the shoulder straps from the backplate.
Each tasset is attached to the flange by two hinges with chamfered edges. Each lower hasp is slightly waisted before tapering down to a calix from which issues a spalulate end with teardrop finial. It is attached to the tasset by a domed brass rivet on the spatulate end, fitted with an internal washer. Of these, the left outer washer is missing, the inner a modern circular washer, the right inner is irregular and the outer square. The top of the lower hasp is further secured by a sliding domed brass rivet at the top. Each rivet is fitted with an internal irregular washer except for the left inner rivet, which has a modern circular washer like that on the bottom rivet of this hasp. Below the sliding rivet there is also a further rivet hole. On each lower hasp there are additionally three skeuomorphic domed brass rivets which, with the sliding rivet, form a diamond pattern. There is also a transverse inscribed line across the middle just above the lowest rivet of the diamond. The left inner hasp has a crack between the calix and spatulate end. Each upper hasp is drawn out on the outer side for a plain swivel-hook with domed brass rivet that engages a pierced stud through a slot in the hasp. The outer right hook is of different form to the others and is probably a replacement. Each stud is fitted with an internal octagonal rivet, that on the left inner stud being a larger, modern replacement. The flange has four rivet holes along the lower edge, suggesting that the existing hinges are replacements.
The tassets are each of one piece, the main edges of which have inward turns accompanied by a recessed border within which are 19 domed brass lining rivets on the left tasset and 17 on the right. The top inner rivet on the left tasset is missing. All are fitted with internal circular washers, two of which are missing on the lower outer corner of the right tasset and the second from top on the outer side of the left tasset. The upper right corner of the right tasset is cut obliquely for the passage of the left tasset. Each tasset is embossed to simulate 6 lames. Each simulated lame is bordered by double incised line decoration, the sixth lame having additonal double incised lines on the lower edge. Each lame is bordered at the incised line by a decorative rivet at the centre and at each side, forming 3 columns which terminate at the sixth lame in a triangular pattern of 3 rivets. One rivet on the outermost left triangle is fitted with an internal circular washer.
It is finished in black and lacquered externally, and rough from the hammer internally. At the centre of each shoulder is a later suspension hole. The flange below the medial point has split and been repaired by an internal square plate secured by four externally flush rivets, the upper right rivet now missing. The outer lower edges of the flange have broken out, the damage on the left extending round the side edge. The right arm-hole has some cracking to the turn and some splitting. The centre of the chest has a small amount of lamination.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Overall height: 65.7 cm (25.9 in), Height of breastplate: 42.8 cm (16.9 in), Width of breastplate: 37.1 cm (14.6 in), Max height of tasset: 31.8 cm (12.5 in), Max width of tasset: 35.4 cm (13.9 in) Weight: 4.85 kg (10 lb 11 oz)

Component parts

Inscriptions and Marks

Centre of neck stamped: S, WC and to their right, crowned IR. There are three wedge-shaped construction marks on the 6th lame of each tasset.

Associations

Places England